15 October 2014

This weekend it becomes real – Signature Adieu

The ‘phoney-war’ on credit and debit card transactions ends next week when Australia’s banks will decline Visa and MasterCard transactions with signatures. From 1 August, customers were told they had to use PINs rather than signatures for the $440 billion in annual credit and debit card transactions. However, retailers could still override that and accept signatures.

From next Monday, that option will be taken away from retailers with Australia’s banks enforcing the PIN only option, and ‘declining’ signature transactions.

The development comes as new research by Australia’s business-only bank and EFTPOS provider, Tyro Payments, shows consumers embracing PIN over signature transactions. Findings from 11,000 small-to-medium sized businesses, including restaurants, cafes and pubs, show that when given the choice between PIN and sign, consumers are now opting to use PINs 99.6% of the time, compared to only 59% late last year (Nov 2013). PIN usage has been widely accepted.

Australians have more than 50 million credit and debt cards, with use increasing by more than six per cent a year, as we move towards a ‘cashless’ society. “Tyro is no longer concerned about customers having to search for cash in a panic, because they don’t have a PIN number attached to their credit or debit card,” Tyro Payments co-founder Andrew Rothwell said today. “That’s because customers have taken on this more secure form of payment with gusto.”

The only exceptions for signature sales will be for:

  1. contactless transactions under $100 (Visa payWave, MasterCard® PayPass™ or American Express Contactless)
  2. magnetic-stripe (mag-stripe) cards issued in Australia that have not yet been replaced with chip cards
  3. cards issued outside of Australia
  4. signature-preferred cards issued to Australians with a genuine need to sign.

Mr Rothwell said Tyro finished upgrading all its 20,000 terminals last month, in antipation of next Monday’s changes. “However, we continue to be concerned with disruptions for Australia’s 37,700 restaurants, cafes and pubs , because the mandatory PIN entry forces patrons to pay either at the table or at the cashier,” he said.

Mr Rothwell said some operators did not offer the option of providing a tip at the end of the meal when paying by PIN. While tipping is not as common practice as in the United States where gratuity of about 20 percent of the bill is standard for good service, modest tipping in Australia contributes to a wait staff’s home pay.

As the first to introduce a tipping solution for the hospitality industry two years ago, Tyro has gained experience on what it takes to overcome the reluctance of the customer to tip using the EFTPOS terminal. At Tyro venues, the average tipping level was maintained at 8 percent of the table bill, where the patron is willing to tip.

“With appropriate wait staff training, customers can be given enough privacy to pay a tip using Tyro’s easy to navigate workflow, which avoids the nightmare for lost tips among hard-working wait staff,” Mr Rothwell said. “The challenge is to increase the number of customers tipping.

“We see continuous improvement as the staff learns how to become more sensitive around tipping at table and as customers become more accustomed to it.” Restaurants using the Tyro integrated pay, split and tip at table feature, were able to double the number of patrons tipping over the last two months following the rollout of the PIN mandate.

“A simple, fast and secure payment process integrates the restaurant management software and the payment terminal, allowing patrons to use the EFTPOS terminal on the table at their own pace to split the bill, tip and pay using their PIN. ” adds Andrew Rothwell.


  • Current users of the terminals have reported positive outcomes such as halving the number of trips a waiter makes to the table to close it off.
  • The end-of-day reconciliation and tip completion cease being problems for the restaurateurs.
  • Customers never lost sight of their credit cards as they did in the past, which means they have total security over them.
  • Diners have a broader choice of cards. They will no longer be limited to today’s signature based credit cards, but will be able to use Australia’s popular EFTPOS debit card at the table.
  • Restaurateurs using mobile terminals potentially save in merchant service fees when their patrons use the EFTPOS debit card instead of a credit card.

Need to know more?

For more about this news story please contact:
Monica Appleby, Head of Corporate Communications on 0466 598 946 or mappleby@tyro.com
Sophie Cotterill, Corporate Communications Manager on 0414 960 292 or scotterill@tyro.com